8 Red Flags That Might Mean Your Spouse is Having an Affair

Dealing with Infidelity

Here at Messy Marriage I always try to encourage spouses to persevere in their marriages with the help of the Lord, even though sometimes a major problem, like an affair, can rock a marriage to its core. If this is, or might be, your situation, my hope is that you aren’t immediately running for a lawyer to get a divorce.

However, I DO want to break through any denial you might have by listing some red flags that indicate an affair could be happening. I also hope to wrap up with a bit of guidance on this destructive vice in a marriage.

So today I’ll be sharing some of what I’ve gleaned from a Huffington Post* article on the subject, as well as some other insights from around the web. I’m combining those insights with some of my own thoughts, as well as biblical insights on how to deal these red flags.

8 or More Red Flags that Could Mean an Affair is Going On …

Red Flags of Affair1. You’re no longer having sex (Probably the biggest sign!)

This could also include …

  • Your spouse suddenly requesting kinky or other erotic sexual activity—including watching porn
  • Demonstrating a new sexual skill (most likely learned from the “illicit lover”)
  • Resisting kissing or showing other types of affection to you, especially in public places
  • Offering weird and suspicious reasons for not being “in the mood”

2. Cellphones become strictly off-limits

This might be evident by …

  • Mysterious phone calls that include “hang ups” or “wrong numbers” when you pick up the phone
  • Phone bill shows unexplained long-distance charges; or same, but unknown caller on bill, etc.
  • Your spouse regularly and quickly tries to pick up the phone before you do
  • Your spouse leaves the room to talk on the phone or whispers into the phone
  • Deletes numbers from caller ID
  • Behaves differently or ends call abruptly when you come in the room
  • Cell phone bills are kept away from you

3. He or she suddenly needs “space”

This is often shown by …

  • Chronically acting tired and disinterested in your relationship
  • Developing an interest in a new and all-consuming activity—like racquetball, for example—that keeps your mate away from home
  • Discouraging you from visiting him/her at work or coming with him/her to work-related social events
  • Not responding quickly or being available for your calls

4. You don’t go to bed at the same time

Your mate might also …

  • Frequently come up with odd excuses for why he/she can’t sleep and must go do “something else”
  • Make a habit of going to bed much earlier in order to escape any suggestion of sex

5. Your spouse is uncharacteristically unreliable and flaky (odd)

The “mother-load” of options here are:

  • Begins to wear styles that are vastly different than his/her usual norm
  • Makes a habit of missing dinner/family meals, or events with your kids
  • Speaks more critically, sarcastically, and/or harshly to you than normal and for no good reason
  • Often smells of a perfume/cologne you don’t wear
  • Daydreams or appears distracted more and more
  • Keeps a change of clothes in his/her trunk
  • Odd and unexplained mileage shows up on his/her car’s odometer
  • Criticizes you for showing him/her affection
  • Gets a private P.O. Box for no good reason or without telling you
  • Suddenly takes many more business trips out of town
  • Shows an excessive interest in knowing your schedule, but avoids telling you his/her’s
  • Stops wearing wedding ring, but can’t give a good reason why

6. Physical fitness (attractiveness) becomes more of a priority than ever

You might see your spouse …

  • Suddenly dressing more provocatively or becoming obsessed with appearance
  • Constantly wanting to work out or lose weight, especially when there isn’t an obvious need to.
  • Getting dressed up for “running errands”

7. When confronted, cheaters have major outbursts

This can be shown by …

  • Losing his/her temper over small requests for information that used to be easily offered
  • Manipulating you into feeling like the “bad guy” for asking for more details
  • Generally being more defensive, stressed and hostile for no good reason

8. He or she values privacy above all else

Examples of of this are …

  • Won’t let you drop him/her off at airport when leaving for a business trip
  • Won’t let you see the checkbook or bank account
  • Separates his/her cell phone account from yours, and/or won’t let you see the bill

[bctt tweet=”8 Red Flags and MORE that might mean your spouse is having an affair. #stepawayfromdenial” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

Dealing with Infidelity

What if you read through this list and see lots of red flags in your own marriage. What should you do, then? First of all, take a deep breath. Second of all, whisper a prayer to the Lord to calm your heart. And most of all, don’t push the panic button and demand a divorce. Simply get busy being proactive in the Lord’s power.

What to do if your spouse might be having an affair …

1. Turn to the Lord for comfort

Pour out your pain before Him. Grieve and release your hurt to Him though torrents of tears. He knows what it feels like to be cheated on. And He is the only One who can truly minister to you with the healing and perspective you need. Nothing your spouse can do or say will bring you the peace of mind that the Lord provides in abundance.

Here are some Bible verses to meditate on and apply to your hurting heart: Psalm 55:16, Psalm 62:5-8, Proverbs 3:3-5, Isaiah 26:3-4, Isaiah 43:1b-2 and 4a, 2 Cor. 1:8b-10, Phil. 4:4-9, 1 Peter 1:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7. Make it your goal each day to find more verses that remind you of God’s nearness.

2. Seek out a good, Christian counselor

Find a counselor who you can talk to about these “red flags” to know for sure what is legitimate and what might not be. Your counselor can also help you navigate the way to approach this with your wayward spouse. That’s so very important!

But I also want to reiterate both the “good” and “Christian” part of this suggestion. Don’t just go to the first counselor you see listed or the one closest to your home. Ask your church and/or your godly and trusted friends who they would recommend.

Above all, recognize your limits and emotional blinders on this one, so that you do NOT go it alone! This is a situation requiring more expertise and objectivity than you, or any person going through this, can possibly possess. WithOUT a counselor’s guidance you’ll only be signing up for more heartache in the end.

3. Lean on your church family and godly friends for support

This includes asking trusted and confidential friends to be a sounding board for you, as well as being your constant prayer partner/warrior in this fight of your life.

Remember Matthew 18:20! #powerfulandeffectiveprayers

4. Read Christian books that address this issue

Arm yourself with the truth and wisdom of others who’ve walked where you’re walking or who have expertise on how to deal with infidelity. Here are some great books to consider: Unfaithful: Hope and Healing After Infidelity (Kindle version is only $1.99 right now!)Torn Asunder, Shattered Vows: Hope and Healing for Women Who Have Been Sexually Betrayed, Winning Your Wife Back Before It’s Too Late, and Winning Your Husband Back Before It’s Too Late, just to name a few.

5. Make time for God each and every day

This is the tag-along to number 1 above—turning to the Lord for comfort. Don’t just receive His comfort and leave Him in the dust—hurrying back to your mate to find a way to patch things up. Because, if you do, you’re bound to lose this battle for your marriage. So while you wait on your mate to wake back up to you, realize and embrace the fact that the Lord is your One, True and Faithful Spouse!

“‘For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young, only to be rejected,’ says your God.” ~Isaiah 54:5-6

Then keep coming back to Him every.single.DAY so that you don’t end up single and alone! But even if you do, developing the habit of a daily time with God will more than make up for your loss. Allow the Lord to take what is broken and beyond repair and turn it into His beautiful refinement and redemption!

[bctt tweet=”Let the Lord take what is broken and beyond repair so He can refine you and redeem your situation! #GreatRedeemer #infidelity” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

My next post will identify 64 abusive actions that could mean you’re in an abusive marriage. This information might seem like a “no-brainer” to an abused spouse. But you’d be surprised how easily people grow accustomed to abusive treatment—losing sight of when or if they’re being abused. I hope you’ll join me then as well.

*This post was based off of the Huffington Post article – 11 Cheating Red Flags People Say They Overlooked. Be advised that I revised, condensed, as well as expanded on the content they shared there.


What are some other red flags that you could add to this listing?


What are some other suggestions you would add to my “what to do” list?


Infidelity and Affairs

Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me MondayMoments of HopeLiterary Musing MondaysDream Together LinkupJennifer Dukes LeeGlimpses LinkupTune in ThursdayBreak Through Homeschooling LinkupCoffee for Your HeartSitting Among FriendsFaith and FriendsFresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday


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15 responses to “8 Red Flags That Might Mean Your Spouse is Having an Affair”

  1. Well, this is an important post, Beth … the kind of thing that should be filed away for safe keeping. No one ever wants to believe that he / she would be on either end of this tragedy. But truth be told, we all know couples who we never dreamed would end up divorced.

    And yes, in Christian circles. None of us are immune.

    Sadly …


    1. Yes, I feel like I haven’t addressed this issue in such a comprehensive and to-the-point kind of way before, and it’s truly needed. A lot of marriages are “messy” because of this problem, as I’m sure you’re well aware as a counselor and life-coach, Linda. I hope this is helpful to those who are facing such a painful challenge in marriage.

      Thanks for your kindness and friendship! It’s always great to see you in my space. 🙂


  2. Ugh.
    This makes me sick inside, but so grateful for your willingness to “go there.” We’ve seen so many marriages go over the cliff, and as Linda said below, no one is immune. This puts me and my husband on high alert about our own sacred relationship.


    1. Yes, me too, Michele. I’ve seen so many marriages go “off the cliff” as well, including the marriage of one of my best friends years ago. It was heartbreaking to watch. Thanks for your encouragement. I do hope it puts everyone on high alert, since it happens more often than we might ever imagine.


  3. Well done, Beth!! :o) thanks for walking alongside me when I found myself in that situation.


    1. Thank you! I’m sorry that this is where you find yourself but am glad that it helps to give you a sense that someone is in your corner! I’ll be praying for you!


  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Sadly important post, Beth.

    A couple of things I might add, that would be potential red flags in concert with other items on the list:

    – your spouse shows signs of a guilty conscience, like excessive remorse over small offenses, or starts acting ‘too nice’ in an uncomfortable way
    – drifting away from friends whose company he or she had enjoyed in the past
    – receipt of unexplained gifts
    – increased taking of ‘selfies’
    – ticket stubs for movies you didn’t see together; it’s very human to hang onto sentimental ephemera like this
    – a sudden change in expressed political views; being involved with someone engenders a felt need to be ‘acceptable’.

    Gruesome subject; you handled it well, Beth.


    1. Thank you for adding those thoughts, Andrew. Each one is another aspect that is important to point out. Yes, it is a gruesome subject but I’m hoping it helps those who find themselves in this very painful place. Praying for you, my friend!


  5. Such a powerful and important post, Beth. I appreciate your bravely shared wisdom here. Pinned and tweeted. Praying that God will protect you from attacks for being so honest and godly here, friend!


    1. Yes, it is, Sarah. I don’t know how brave it is, since I’ve never walked in these painful paths. But I have had many friend’s marriages who have been rocked by an affair, so I’ve seen the devastation from through their eyes. Thanks for sharing and I do appreciate prayers for protection over my marriage. Pastor’s are often Satan’s biggest targets for these kinds of temptations, as I’m sure you’re well aware. Thank you!


  6. Tammie Jahn Pittsley Avatar
    Tammie Jahn Pittsley

    On target, and gently well-written. Thanks for sharing for all those who might be there now or in the future. Pinned. Just want to re-iterate that an affair is not necessarily the death blow to a marriage. Grace and forgiveness are possible.


    1. Thank you, Tammie. I do hope it gives people who are wondering if this might be going on in their marriages a more clear-cut picture. Better to be armed with knowledge than to blindly continue on with careless abandon. It will mean hitting a wall at break-neck speed! And yes, I agree! It truly is possible as long as we surrender our situation and pain to the Lord. Thanks for that reminder!


  7. Great post, Beth! Thank you for reminding us to guard our relationships. Marriage takes work–lots of it!


    1. Thank you, Anita! Yes, that’s what I’m aiming for–to guard marriages. I hope that it provides food for thought for every couples, since none of us are immune to this problem.


  8. Such in important post but it makes me sad though. Thankfully, God does never leave us so even in the midst of devastating events He is with us. And grace always wins. Thanks, Beth. Visiting via #tellhisstory. Blessings!


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